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Yusei Ogawa wins must-see 14-minute final against returning Krpalek
3 Dec 2017 11:55
Japanese heavyweight Ogawa Yusei was the unexpected winner of the last final of the Tokyo Grand Slam 2017 as he defeated U100kg Olympic champion Lukas Krpalek (CZE) in a bout for the ages. Their heavyweight duel was literally a thrill-a-minute meeting as both men were devoted to the cause for the four minutes of regulation time and the subsequent and sensational 10 minutes and one second of golden score.
Ogawa, 21, is the son of four-time world champion and 1992 Olympic silver medallist Ogawa Naoya, and, while being shorter, has a bulkier frame than the 112 kilos of the Czech Republic hero. Krpalek was making his return to action after an ankle injury kept him out of the Worlds and despite only being back in the dojo for three weeks was able to force his way into the final with a mixture of lethal sutemi-waza, aggression and will power. In one of the best contests of the entire competition, power was matched with power, and the crowd loved every second as both judoka found seemingly miraculous ways to escape imminent danger and to remain in the gold medal hunt in golden score. After 10 minutes of added time it was Krpalek who lost out by a shido for passivity but both men came out of the contest with their reputations enhanced and heavyweight judo delivered as the main event attraction on the last day of the Grand Slam.
In the first semi-final Dusseldorf Grand Prix winner Kageura Kokoro (JPN) fell to Krpalek in golden score by ippon from a trademark sumi-gaeshi which remains a rare sight in the +100kg category with the exception of the Czech Republic’s leading man. In the second semi-final Ogawa pinned down veteran Kamikawa Daiki (JPN) for ippon.
The first bronze medal was won by world number one David Moura (BRA) who ended a miserable day for Kamikawa – the last judoka to beat Teddy Riner (FRA) – by pinning down the Japanese in osaekomi for ippon.
The second and last bronze medal contest saw Kageura eclipse Zagreb Grand Prix silver medallist Stephan Hegyi (AUT) by a waza-ari score from a ko-uchi-gake which was the only score of the contest.
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Cristina Matei (ROU)
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